I will probably get in big trouble for this post. But you know what? It just might be worth it. I’m pretty sure that the parties involved will not see this post. So here goes…
A few weeks ago I got one of those anonymous emails asking, “Would you do our daughter’s wedding in Saint Augustine? We are Lutheran, but we live out of the area.”
Sometimes I simply ignore these requests. But for some reason I was intrigued and replied, “What church do you belong to?”
I heard back from the mother quickly, “We aren’t actually members right now, but we have attended (she went on to name some South Florida churches)”. Hmm. Interesting. Should I keep the discussion going? What the heck. Let’s see where this goes.
OK. I am available. When and where is the wedding? They replied with a date and a time. OK, I can do it. Let’s set up a phone conversation.
The phone conversation went surprisingly well. Nice folks. We’re three weeks out from the wedding, so we better get to work. I sent a copy of a typical wedding ceremony, asking for their input as to what scripture they would like me to read. I also gave them some suggestions.
About a week later, I hear from the bride-to-be. “I looked at the service. Can you make it less biblical?” Hmm. I replied, “I’m not sure what you mean. I am a Lutheran pastor. Just about everything I do is bible-based and Christ-centered.” She replies, “Some bible is OK. But you didn’t say much about things like the relationship and love and life.”
Here is what I emailed in reply:
I’ve give some thought to your request, but I’m struggling to come up with anything.
I could talk about how love is patient, kind, and enduring. I could say something about how you were created for a relationship like you and your fiancé have. I could explain how we actually find what life is all about when we give it away to someone else. Unfortunately, all those truths are biblical (1 Corinthians 13:4-7; Genesis 2:18-24; Luke 9:24).
I’m a pastor. I’ve been charged with preaching the word (the bible) — that’s from 2 Timothy 4:2. Rather than myself, I talk about Jesus (2 Cor. 4:5). I have no doubt that the only way my own marriage has lasted over 33 years is because of God’s gifts of mercy, grace and forgiveness (Eph. 2:8-9). All the things that make my relationship with my wife possible — love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control — are all the gifts of God’s Spirit for us. This too is biblical (Galatians 5:25-26).
So you see, that’s all I’ve got. I will not offended if you and your fiancé decide to find someone else to officiate at your wedding. However, I will do my best if you would still like me to perform the ceremony. Either way, I pray that you and your future husband will experience the joy and blessing of being husband and wife for many, many years.
So what do you think? Did I reply appropriately? I really believe that mom wanted a pastor to officiate the wedding, but the kids weren’t really into the church thing. It’s been a few days and I haven’t heard back. I’ll let you know what happens…